LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Louisville has been seeking its first signature win since David Padgett took over as interim coach just before the season started.

On Wednesday night, the Cardinals signed off on a big one – storming back from a 17-point first-half deficit to knock off No. 23-ranked Florida State 73-69 in Tallahassee, where the Seminoles had won 28 straight games, the nation’s third-longest active home-court winning streak.

Louisville got 15 points from Ray Spalding and 16 from Deng Adel, and got huge three-pointers from freshman Malik Williams and sophomore Ryan McMahon late to take their first lead of the game with less than three minutes to play.

With 2:34 left and the teams talking it over with coaches during a timeout, the Cardinals led 68-63, and had outscored FSU 36-18 in the second half. The resumption of play was delayed as officials repaired a net on one of the goals.

The delay took more than 10 minutes. The long break helped FSU gather itself. It gave Louisville every chance to fall apart. So did the Seminoles, in fact. Braian Angola, who had struggled in the second half, made a pair of NBA-range three-pointers. 

But Louisville didn't wilt.

Up 68-66, Anas Mahmoud stopped two FSU attempts in the lane, the first with with 1:26 left, and another with 1:21 to play. Following that, McMahon drilled a three from the left wing, off a pass from Adel, to make it 71-66 with 58 seconds left. Angola the made the second of his long threes, over the hand of Quentin Snider, and FSU called timeout with 44.5 seconds left.

On Louisville's next trip, a turnover, when Mahmoud coughed it up with 32 seconds left. Angola missed on a drive, then Mahmoud swatted a second attempt in the lane with 11 seconds left. Mahmoud then challenged Terance Mann's drive and altered his shot, and McMahon won the scramble for the loose ball and was fouled. He drained a pair of free throws with 1.5 seconds left to ice the game.

Louisville's offense came to life with some of its best ball-movement of the season in the second half. Adel, in particular, began to facilitate, and finished the game with five assists, second only to Snider's six. 

Padgett's emotions had to be all over the place, but you couldn't tell it. He spoke with ESPN as calmly afterward as if he were some kind of Mission Control specialist.

"I'm speechless, I really am," Padgett said. "I'm so proud of my guys for being resilient. They've been resilient all year, on the road, especially, with the exception of one game. But we finally were able to overcome it. We had gotten close at Purdue and at Clemson and just didn't have enough. But today we had enough and we relied on our defense to win a game for us."

Most notable perhaps: A Florida State team that leads the ACC in turnovers forced only forced eight by Louisville, one game after the Cardinals turned it over a season-high 21 times in an overtime loss at Clemson.

“It was all about rebounding," Padgett said. "I told them, 'Look, we lost the last few games because of turnovers. We're behind in this one because of rebounding. Let's not shoot ourselves in the foot. Take care of the backboard and defend and we'll win this game.' . . . We needed this one, desperately. We had been so close in a couple of road games. We really needed this, not just because we needed a win, but because it was an ACC win.”

The Cards return to Louisville to play host to Virginia Tech at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Copyright 2018 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.